Sharab Hospital on Saturday 21st January inaugurated a new obstetrics, gynecology and pediatric complex in Kanifing Layout as an extension of its health services to the public and an expansion from a clinic to a hospital.
Speaking at the ceremony Dr. Abubacarr Jah, CEO and the Medical Director of Sharab Hospital said health care in the Gambia remains one of the least developed in the world necessitating travel to other countries for medical care. ”To address this, Sharab Hospital Ltd, sets its mission to serve and contribute to the country’s health infrastructure and to provide affordable standard and professional medical care to the Gambian population, which will decrease the need to travel abroad for medical treatment and encourage medical tourism to the Gambia from other countries,” Dr Jah said.
He added: “We want all Gambians, rich and poor, those in position and those not, to be able to have the confidence to get their treatment in The Gambia with dignity and even if it is the end of life, to be able to spend it with their families here. We want to end the culture of those who can afford it travel to other countries while those who cannot contend with what is available here”.
Dr. Jah noted that the hospital is engaged in many philanthropic activities including giving free medical services to those who cannot afford them. “We feel our people deserve better and it is important to establish a center where our people can access advanced health care in a well-equipped hospital,” he said , appealing for support from government in general, the ministry of health and all for continuous support to enable the private hospitals to develop further as it will be a collective benefit.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Ousman Bah encouraged Gambians to change the narrative from a poor to a prosperous country and from a dependent to an independent one, noting that investing “in our country’s development especially health and creating employment opportunities for Gambians is something we should strive for.”
“We are at a crossroad and there is no other person to build this country other than ourselves. Ensuring access to quality healthcare services is one of the objectives of the health sector and the government cannot do it all. By creating an enabling environment, the government will make it possible to generate local and foreign income as well as create decent jobs for Gambians.,” he said.
The minister added that government is developing a policy to encourage Gambians to invest in businesses without worrying about the bureaucratic logistic of establishing businesses or the prolonged processes of securing licenses coupled with high taxation.
Dr. Mustapha Bittaye, Director of Health Services, said it is the ministry’s vision to increase access to healthcare services in the Gambia. He added that the accessibility of medical facilities has been a hinderance and the ministry is working hard to make sure health services is close to every individual, and creating a facility like Sharab will help improve access.
“There are a lot of facilities that provide basic services but Sharab provides quality medical care,” he said.
He applauds Sharab for providing improved quality and affordable health service to Gambians which is a plus for the country and will help reduce the number of people sent overseas for treatment and mitigate expenses and opportunity costs as well as encourage Gambians to invest in health services to avoid the difficulties and the expensive treatment Gambians have to travel for.
Mr. Omar Ousman Jobe, Chairman Board of Advisers giving his closing remark said Sharab fully commits itself to complement the government’s efforts of reducing maternal and child mortality rates in the country.
Alhagie Babucar Cham, recalled how the hospital took good care of him when he was admitted there few months ago.
“They provided me with the best of medical care and luckily I was cured so I am grateful to the manager and staff of the hospital,” he said.
Sharab was established in September 2011 only as an outpatient service and grew over the years to a 24hr service and a full-fledged multispecialty hospital with several departments. The hospital pioneered many services in The Gambia, especially in the field of Urology and remains the only facility offering such services. It also pioneered the first fully electronic medical record system which only one other hospital in The Gambia has taken up.